RUSK, TX (KTRE) - The fear of diabetes, heart attack and even stroke caused one Rusk woman to take a plunge she thought she would never take.
Ashley Yarbrough, 27, said just two years ago she weighed nearly 400 pounds and was eating herself into a fast food coma.
“I was having heart palpitations when I would lie down and go to sleep at night. My heart would beat a couple of times and then it would stop for two, three, four seconds and then it would start up again,” Yarbrough said. “And almost every night I was afraid to go to sleep. I was afraid I wasn't going to wake up the next morning.”
Every day, Yarbrough said she would spend most of her time in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant, eating food she said was “convenient.”
“I used to be a fast food junkie, sugar junkie, eating, maybe, 4,000 calories a day. Most of it fast food and sugary drinks,” Yarbrough said.
But, the fear of dying continued to consume her, she said.
“I knew it was an eventuality if I continued eating that way and if I didn't do something by the time I was 30, it was never going to happen,” Yarbrough said.
That's when she decided to make a change. First, she started a new diet.
“I purchased a meal replacement powder—Whey Protein. I tried three or four different brands of that, making fruit and veggie smoothies,” Yarbrough said. “I started out walking 20 minutes a day around my neighborhood. I did that for three months, lost 60 pounds before joining a gym, and then it just created a snowball effect.”
She began to start exercising more, and even started incorporating two full meals a day into her diet.
“It's just one of those things that you get addicted to. Not only because exercise and eating right makes you feel good and well, you lose the weight,” Yarbrough said. “You meet those goals that you set for yourself. If you don't set even the smallest goals, and meet those goals, you're not going to achieve them.”
The more Yarbrough worked out and ate right, the more her blood pressure dropped, she said. However, she admits there were a few obstacles along the way.
“You have to take the time to make each meal and if you have a busy day ahead…you have to make the meals the night before,” Yarbrough said. “I always crave sugar—sugary foods. I even dream about food. You know, you want to revert back to your old lifestyle so bad that you start dreaming about it and wishing that you could eat normally, like a normal person, but you can't. It's not worth going back to those old habits just for a couple meals of junk.”
Despite not being at her goal weight just yet, Yarbrough said her dreams are finally coming true. She is even actively pursuing a career as a personal trainer.
“The biggest challenge was to keep going after you've fallen. You can fall over and over, but it's your willingness to get back up and start again,” Yarbrough said.
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